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Game Journal: Game 76 - Maple Leafs vs. Panthers

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs





6:30 PM:
Brad Boyes spoke to the media ahead of facing his former team on Tuesday night. Here's what he had to say...

Was it a sleepless night thinking about that chance to score vs. Bishop on Monday?
No, I think after the next couple of shifts it's gone and you're working on getting the next one, trying to get that back. It's tough. Plays like that you've got to put it in.

How have you felt coming back from the injury?
Not bad, I actually felt alright. I enjoyed playing with Tyler and Connor too. I think we've generated a fair amount of chances, we've just got to score a little bit more. Moving the puck, getting a better feel -- and for myself I've been feeling pretty good out there.

What did you see from the team that generated so many power play chances last night?
As the game went on we got a lot more chances too [after five shots on the first power play], getting the opportunity to work on it. I don't know what it was. I think all year our power play has moved the puck well, we've generated a lot of chances and we just haven't scored. I think last night was a similar case of us doing a lot of the right things. We got in the zone real well, we got set up, we did everything we needed to do and wanted to do, we just couldn't score.

What stands out about Jaromir Jagr?
His age, 44, that's the biggest thing. He just doesn't slow down. In areas he does, he finds other ways to pick it up. It's amazing he's still doing what he's doing. He's got those two young kids with him that are good players so they're helping him a lot, but it's amazing what he's doing.

Do you see similarities between the young Panthers and what might happen with the Leafs?
Yeah, I hope so. The kids -- Barkov, Huberdeau, Bjugstad -- they've come a long way in the two years I was there, they made big strides. I think that Barkov is one of the most underrated players. I think he's going to be real good and at his age the type of player he is, a two-way player, he does everything. He's real good. For us though, I think there's a lot of potential in our dressing room and it's a matter of growing it, getting the experience for those kids and just making sure they're growing at the right pace.

What do you think the feisty play of the team says about the group?
That's sort of been the way we've been all year. At times we've played extremely well and haven't won, the times we do win we play fairly well. We haven't won a lot of games where we didn't deserve to win, I think a lot of them were we're in most games and try to give the other team a tough. I think that since day one that's what Mike has done a good job of, making sure we're ready to play, playing our system and constantly going at teams.

Does being back here bring back any emotions?
The weather is great, it's raining a bit -- but, I really enjoyed my time here. The biggest thing I liked too was the group of guys, there's a real good group here. So, we'll see, it might be different. I haven't played them yet this year unfortunately so we'll get on the ice and see how that goes.

What skillset does Roberto Luongo bring with his experience?
Lu works real hard at his game, he knows what he needs to do to get ready and he's a big guy. He makes that first save real well, even on the back side too a couple of times. He doesn't give up but he's a guy that, if he sees the puck he's real tough to get the puck by so for us it's putting pucks on net but making sure we're getting traffic there, like any goalie really. Lu has been doing this for a long time and he's been one of the best at it for years.



6:15 PM:
Frank Corrado spoke to media prior to tonight's game. Here's what he had to say...

What stood out out to you the first time you played Jagr?
Just how big and strong he is, he makes a lot of great plays in tight. He plays well with his linemates, obviously a really dangerous line for them.

Is it a matter of doing what has worked for Marincin in terms of knocking the puck off Jagr?
For sure, he's got a long reach and he's really able to protect the puck. You need to find ways to outsmart him and find ways to get your stick in there and knock the puck away.

Is it a headscratcher to only give up 18 shots on lose 3-0 last night?
Yeah, I thought we played a good game, we did a lot of good things and that's just the way it goes some nights. I think we just need to continue to do what we did last night and just put the puck in the back of the net a little bit.

How do you feel about your game these days?
Good, I thought I kind of bounced back after a little bit of a rough patch there. I think that's what it is, it's ups and downs as a young player, especially as a defenceman in this league. I'm just trying to be the best player I can be and keep improving every day.

What do you think the feisty play the last two games says about the team?
I think it shows we don't want to lose. We don't expect to lose, we come in every night looking to win and show what we can do. It's just one of those things, we play to the last buzzer and try and win.

What have you seen from Valiev in your time together?
He's done well. He moves the puck really well and he's getting his feet going and sees the ice pretty well. He's obviously a good player, he's fun to play with so it's been good to have him out there.



6:00 PM: Here's what Mike Babcock had to say on Tuesday afternoon...

Do you like your chances of competing if you can match the start you had last night?
Well for sure, I thought we played well in Tampa. I thought their goaltender was a star and it went in our net so we've got to fix that. We played Florida tough last time we played them and I expect it'll be the same, it should be tight out there. They've got three lines that can really score and they're hitting their stride as a team. It'll be a good test for our people.

What are you seeing from Bernier in the last five starts?
Just confidence. It feels like he's got his game back, which is so important. So, he wants to takes that into the offseason and build on it. He's a young guy in his career, he thinks he's a real good goaltender and you've got to show it every night.

Do you see a nice future for Valiev in a couple of years?
For sure, I think he's doing a real good job. He's got good legs and he's got a good mind and he's got to figure some things out. I thought he was responsible for one of the first goals, a guy went by him and he didn't read the situation right. He's been really good, moved the puck and I like his future.

What are you seeing from Bozak since he's come back from injury?
I thought Bozie's game one was really good and he had some chances for sure last night. Any time you've been off for a while your first game is alright and you sag a little bit. This will be a tougher test for him tonight on a back-to-back. He's a good player that knows how to play, he's a good veteran guy, he makes plays for us, he helps us on the power play so he was involved in a lot of scoring chances last night and we'd like to see the same tonight.

On Luongo:
Lu has done a good job for a long time. I've known him for a long, long time, played against him in the Memorial Cup, they got us to overtime and we had 65 shots on goal so I've been seeing him for a long time, World Championships, he helped us win gold, Olympic gold. He's had a lot of success, he's comfortable here in Florida and he's playing real well on a good team and he's hard to beat.

3:30 PM:
Tonight's officials will be Dave Jackson and Jon McIsaac. Pierre Racicot and Steve Barton will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in to tonight's game can watch on TSN 4, listen on TSN 1050 and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

Paul Hendrick previews tonight's game below.



3:15 PM:
Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Panthers.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

18 Michalek - 43 Kadri - 40 Grabner

11 Hyman - 39 Nylander - 15 Parenteau

28 Boyes - 42 Bozak - 16 Brown

38 Greening - 23 Laich - 26 Smith

Defence

52 Marincin - 44 Rielly

51 Gardiner - 8 Carrick

29 Valiev - 20 Corrado

Goaltenders

45 Bernier

31 Sparks

Florida Panthers

Forwards

11 Huberdeau - 16 Barkov - 68 Jagr

36 Jokinen - 21 Trocheck - 18 Smith

26 Purcell - 27 Bjugstad - 24 Hudler

28 Wilson - 41 McKegg - 48 Shaw

Defence

51 Campbell - 5 Ekblad

7 Kulikov - 3 Kampfer

46 Kindl - 6 Petrovic

Goaltenders

1 Luongo

35 Montoya

3:00 PM: The Maple Leafs wrap up a back-to-back on Tuesday night when they visit the Florida Panthers.

The Leafs are coming off of a 3-0 loss in Tampa Bay on Monday. Garret Sparks made 15 stops in the loss while the Leafs peppered the Lightning with 34 shots on goal but ultimately couldn't get on the scoresheet. Jonathan Bernier is expected to get the start vs. the Panthers.

The Panthers last played on Saturday night and beat the Lightning by a 5-2 score. Vincent Trocheck, Jaromir Jagr, Jiri Hudler, Jonathan Huberdeau and Jussi Jokinen scored for the Panthers, while Roberto Luongo made 33 stops in the win. He is expected to get the start vs. the Maple Leafs.

Stay tuned for projected lineups as well as comments from Coach Babcock and the Leafs.

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